LEEDCo, if anything, has been persistent in its pursuit of government grants. A few days ago they announced a $3.7 million dollar grant, bringing their total take, up until last week to $10.7 million. Now, the Department of Energy has awarded them another $40 million from US taxpayers to be paid in three installments of $13.3 million each over the next three years. All in, it totals over $50 million!
This is an excellent example of the US government pouring money into a private business in a favored industry (wind energy) that cannot stand on its own two feet. They hail it as a success, but it’s obvious any business would be “successful” if the government suddenly decided to shower them with millions of your dollars.
Who is getting what?
Interesting, too, is that a major winner in this project is a Norwegian company, Fred Olsen Renewables, reportedly buying the assets of LEEDCo and who will do all of the installation work in Lake Erie. So, a US taxpayer funded renewable energy project in the Great Lakes will pay millions to a Norwegian company since the $40 million over the next three years will be delivered after most, if not all, of the company’s assets change hands.
Forget wind, think money
Maybe, it really is all about the money. While everyone is distracted looking at photos of wind turbines, slide shows about wind resources in Lake Erie and hearing optimistic predictions of growing green energy jobs, the founders of LEEDCo, a Norwegian wind developer (Fred Olsen Renewables) and a German wind turbine manufacturer (Siemens) are collecting tens of millions of US taxpayer dollars. Could it be as simple as all that?
Think about it, as government officials like our Erie County executive get involved in LEEDCo, as the Department of Energy keeps granting millions more dollars for some arbitrary milestones met, as photo ops with smiling politicians find their way into the newspaper and onto the internet, you need to keep your eye on Lorry Wagner, CEO of LEEDCo and other officers of the company as well as Norwegian wind developer Fred Olsen Renewables and German manufacturer Siemens, all of whom keep smiling all the way to the bank. While you’re looking at pretty pictures and hearing stories of green energy jobs here, they keep collecting millions more in taxpayer funded grants. Tell us again, what does this company do?
Even wind company CEOs are bothered by all of these grants
A few years ago, the CEO of a wind company wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal and in his view:
Government subsidies to new wind farms have only made the industry less focused on reducing costs. In turn, the industry produces a product that isn’t as efficient or cheap as it might be if we focused less on working the political system …
He goes on to say:
The wind industry has largely been out-competed by natural gas, which has proved to be a clean, reliable and cheap power source for the future without subsidies or even venture-capital funding.
What’s the money for and where is it going?
If a legitimate business builds something people want, the owners are free to earn as many dollars as they wish, provided, of course, their big plan makes economic sense and someone is willing to invest in it, but, on the other hand, if you concoct a plan for a company tailor made to meet requirements defined by pro-wind government bureaucrats, you don’t actually have to build anything useful, because those bureaucrats will bless your plan with government grants. They make the rules, you play by their rules, you get paid. Pretty cool.
Carefully considered decisions or plain old politics?
Of course, Erie County executive Kathy Dahlkemper, Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson are obviously qualified to analyze the technical aspects of this project. They have extensive backgrounds in physics and engineering, they are aware of the relative merits of generating electricity from wind as opposed to the many conventional methods currently used in the USA and their careful financial analysis of the benefits to electricity consumers as well as taxpayers all make a decision to be cheerleaders for this project the logical decision, … right? They do have those backgrounds don’t they? We couldn’t be watching people out of their element simply trying to gain the favor of voters with vague promises of green jobs could we? No, …, that’s just not possible. Is it?
Maybe all of us need to take another look at this project, because maybe, … just maybe, the whole point is simply to grab as many taxpayer dollars as possible. Could it really be just that simple?
Source: LEEDCo Press release